Goodwill SoCal trying to close digital divide as more rely on technology amid coronavirus pandemic

As unemployment skyrockets nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic, Goodwill is trying to help those who may not have the needed technology find a job.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (KABC) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the world to move towards virtual everything, including job hunting. And amid surges in unemployment, there's a digital divide that widens the gap between those who have the technology and those who don't.

Goodwill Southern California is trying to close that gap.

"We are seeing people come in the doors because they don't have technology," said Simon Lopez, chief impact officer at Goodwill Southern California. "We're finding that a lot of the job seekers don't have the technology and the resources available. So it makes it really difficult for them to go on and utilize some of those virtual services."

The tech divide is clear in the three counties that Goodwill Southern California serves: Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino.

About 8.5% of households in those counties don't have internet, and 9.3% don't have a computer.

But lower-income areas are hit harder.

On average, 12.5% of households making less than $50,000 a year don't have internet, and 17.2% don't have a computer.

Want to see this digital divide map in a larger window? Click here

At Goodwill, they're offering access to computers and internet along with one-on-one resume writing appointments and job search assistance, all with physical distancing guidelines. They are also working on expanding services so that people can take devices like laptops home.

"We're working towards maximizing our inventory and creating an inventory that is going to allow for laptops, tablets that we can actually donate out to the job seekers," said Elena Quintana, program manager for Goodwill Southern California's Northeast LA Center.

The work source centers are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grace Manthey contributed to this report.
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